Grand Rapids PR Agency Grows Again With Acquisition Of Lansing firm
Grand Rapids-based public relations firm Lambert, Edwards & Associates has acquired Sterling Corporation, one of Michigan’s top public affairs and issues management firms.
The move expands LE&A’s public affairs practice, and makes the firm the largest PR firm in the state’s capital and the largest public affairs firm in Michigan.
“We see no better place to invest than Michigan, and no better opportunity than the rapidly evolving and increasingly influential legislative arena,” said Jeff Lambert, president and managing partner of LE&A.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sterling Corporation will remain a separate arm of LE&A, and will continue to operate under the Sterling brand, led by partners Steve Linder and Mark Pischea. While the firms will maintain their own Lansing offices, Sterling will have access to LE&A’s digital and creative services and investor relations expertise.
Sterling’s business will boost LE&A’s annual revenues by about 20 percent.
The Lansing communications firm, which specializes in Republican messaging and consulting, is best known for its public policy, issues management and issue advocacy work, and has the state’s leading fundraising consultancy. Founded in 1999, Sterling has clients across the state and throughout the country, spanning corporations, associations, coalitions and nonprofits.
“While the issues we shape are often regional, our clients are increasingly global and demand more resources and an integrated approach that mirrors their scale,” said Linder. “We believe LE&A, with their statewide offices and national caliber talent, represent the ideal partner to complement our legislative acumen and access.”
Sterling will continue to serve its Republican client base while LE&A will keep its bipartisan focus.
“The reality of where public affairs is, you need to be ambidextrous regardless of what the issue,” said Lambert. “We think Michigan needs more of a Washington, D.C.-approach.”
Since LE&A moved into the Lansing market five years ago, the majority of its public affairs work has been bipartisan, Lambert said.
The addition of Sterling will grow LE&A’s public affairs from 15 percent to a quarter of its overall business.
“We’ve doubled our public affairs practice in the last year, and this acquisition doubles it again,” Lambert said.
Overall, LE&A ranks as one of the top 10 Midwest based PR firms and a top-20 investor relations firm nationally, with clients based in 20 states and six countries. The firm's staff now numbers 50.
LE&A’s acquisition of Sterling is the firm’s fifth acquisition and second-largest since its 2009 acquisition of John Bailey & Associates, which marked the firm’s entry into Lansing and the public affairs sector. The firm has offices in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit.
Lambert says there might be more acquisitions in the future, but he wants that expansion to benefit the state.
“For 15 years, we have been exporting brainpower to other states,” said Lambert. “Our focus is to grow jobs in Michigan.”